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Energy and Environment in Europe

Thomas Hoerber

For many decades a dominant feature of industrialised nations has been a shortage of energy resources. This context became one of the defining features of early European integration.A case study on the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) will prove the point that energy shortage existed in Europe right form the end of World War II and became part and parcel of the European integration process. A second study will prove oil dependency by analysing the British Commonwealth and its oil resources in the Middle East in the mid-1950s. The Iranian oil crisis and the Suez crisis will serve as examples. Oil had been shown to be an unreliable basis for power supply for Western Europe. In search for an alternative, nuclear power seemed to be a blessing, the energy solution of the future with almost inexhaustible potential. Attempts to reduce the dependency on oil were made and the massive subsidies for nuclear energy in countries such as France and Britain must be seen against this background. This leads directly to Euratom, which was clearly seen as one of the most innovative energy strategies at the time of its invention in the Treaties of Rome. The positive impetus for European integration is uncontested. However, this study will also provide explanations as to why Euratom encountered serious problems. The tension between innovative energy policy on the European level and national policy prerogatives will be explained. The oil crises of the 1970s will round up this analysis of European energy policies and lead over to environmental policies of the EU, acknowledging that innovative energy strategies also had an impact on later environmental policies of the EU. This paper, thus, supports the guiding idea of the panel that there is an inherent link between energy and environmental policies in the EU and therefore it stresses common features and the closely connected evolution of both policy fields.The paper draws on an extensive study of post war politics in France, Germany and Britain (H

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